The great majority of applications of the popular frontier technique data envelopment analysis (DEA) do not test for the association of efficiency estimates with key performance indicators used by industry observers. Nevertheless, identifying efficiency estimates' associations with commonly accepted financial measures of performance could guide benchmarking activities, pricing decisions, and regulatory monitoring. Thus, the current paper investigates to what extent bank DEA super-efficiency estimates are associated with key financial ratios. A low correlation may present an opportunity to address inefficiencies that were not obvious in financial ratio analysis, thus enabling an update of inferences drawn from ratios. Regressing ratios on efficiency estimates may also help predict financial ratios. Where an input-output specification is comprised of key financial ratios, DEA can also be used to objectively identify benchmarks for ratio analysis based on actual observed data collected from peers. Nine super-efficiency DEA formulations across two profitability models are systematically tested. The slacks-based measure of DEA with a parsimonious profitability efficiency model emerges as the most significant combination explaining the variation in the two industry ratios, post-tax profit/average total assets and return on average equity. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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